Vertical rescue skills are used to safely rescue those who find themselves trapped at height or depth in hostile environments. Cliff faces, caves, mine shafts, wells, towers, masts and silos as well as industrial environments all provide traps for the unprepared.
Vertical rescue units are located in strategic areas around the South Australian coastline, popular recreational climbing areas, close to large industrial complexes, and mining areas of the State.
Volunteers from one third of South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) units across the state regularly train in the specialist skill of vertical rescue. Due to the extensive training requirements of this skill it is divided into three distinct sections.
- Vertical Rescue Access: to access a casualty and provide first aid
- Vertical Rescue Technician: to rescue the trapped but uninjured
- Vertical Rescue Specialist: to provide extrication of the injured using stretcher operations
All levels include sessions on safety, ropework, anchorage, and equipment maintenance and handling.
Noarlunga and Whyalla units conduct additional confined space rescue and breathing apparatus training to enhance their vertical rescue response capabilities. A high level of personal fitness is vital for this specialist role.